The Michigan Senate Committee on Elections unanimously passed two bills (SB 0756 and 0757) that would implement early processing of absentee ballots and allow for absentee counting boards to work in shifts.

These bills address the fact that absentee ballot requests are up by 70% this year due to the popularity of Proposal 3 that allows for no excuse absentee voting. Local clerks are worried that processing and counting all the absentee ballots in one day will put a strain on their resources and delay the final count. Allowing absentee voter counting boards to work in shifts will ensure security and efficiency. Otherwise, long counting days will increase fatigue that, in turn, will increase mistakes.

While the two bills addressing absentee voting have bipartisan support in the Michigan Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey intends to block them in the Senate. Shirkey doesn’t believe in being proactive and actually said that he prefers late reporting of election results to early counting. However, it is clear that pre-processing will not result in early counting.

Let’s call Mike Shirkey to demand he take this bill to the floor of the Senate and also call the Republican sponsors of the bills to demand Shirkey to do just that.

More details, a suggested script, and a list of State Senators to call are provided below.

Support to Amend State Election Law to Increase Absentee Ballot Efficiency and Integrity: Bills 0756 and 0757 would amend State Election Law to allow city or township clerks with at least 10,000 active voters to notify the Secretary of State that they will be setting up absent voter counting boards that will be working in shifts on Election Day and that absentee ballots will be pre-processed the day before elections, all the while maintaining ballot security and privacy.

Why are bills addressing the efficiency of counting absentee ballots so important? These bills address the fact that absentee ballot requests are up by 70% this year due to the popularity of Proposal 3 that allows for no excuse absentee voting. Local clerks are worried that processing and counting all the absentee ballots in one day will put a strain on their resources and delay the final count. Verifying absentee ballots is a long process that will take longer to achieve than in-person voting. Also, allowing absentee voter counting boards to work in shifts will ensure their safety and efficiency. Otherwise, long counting days will increase fatigue that, in turn, will increase mistakes.

What is happening?  While the two bills addressing absentee voting have bipartisan support in the Michigan Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey intends to block them in the Senate. Shirkey doesn’t believe in being proactive and actually said that he prefers late reporting of election results to early counting. However, it is clear that pre-processing will not result in early counting.

What can we do? We can call Mike Shirkey to demand he take this bill to the floor of the Senate and also call the Republican sponsors of the bills to demand Shirkey to do just that. Please call:

Mike Shirkey:  Senate Majority Leader  517-373-5932
Ruth Johnson: Bills sponsor 517-373-1636
Peter Lucido:  517-373-7670
Michael McDonald:  517-373-7315
Peter MacGregor:  517-373-0797
Jim Runestad: 517-373-1758
Aric Nesbitt:  517-373-0793                 
Ed McBroom:   517-373-7840

Call to Senate Majority Leader Mike ShirkeyHi, I’m calling Senator Shirkey to ask him to move forward on Senate Bills 0756-57. These two bills ensure the safety and efficiency of absent voter board workers, and to allow absentee ballots be counted in a timely and secure manner.

Call to Senate Bill Sponsors:
Hi, I’m calling to urge Senator______, sponsor of Bills 0756-57, to support your bill and to encourage Senator Shirkey to allow a vote on these bills on the Senate floor. These two bills ensure the safety and efficiency of absent voter board workers, and to allow absentee ballots be counted in a timely and secure manner. Thank you.